This story is about a young man who seemed to have what it takes to be “successful” - but the problem is that what he has is mostly surface. There simply is no depth of character.
In my days as an assistant baseball coach, my ‘boss’ - head coach Al Worthington - often referred to the need of character, actually stating that learning and living character was more important than the win/loss record. He knew what would matter in the long run.
One particular road trip resulted in some lack of character. Coach had the bus driver pull over and ordered everyone off the bus. Standing in the hot sun next to that bus, Al gave a heated lecture regarding that lack of character and the stern warning that the current behavior had better change immediately.
When we got back on the bus, I was sitting across the aisle from Al. After waiting a few minutes for him to cool down, I finally asked “Okay Coach, you talk a lot about character, but I’m not sure everyone knows what you mean. Can you define it for me so I can help communicate that?”
He wasn’t quite as cool as I would have liked as his eyes bored holes in me, but he answered: “Ronn, I can’t define it. But I sure can see it when it isn’t there!”
That statement has stuck with me ever since that roadside Yogi Berra like experience. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t seen character - and I can also tell you how awesome it is to see it in action (especially when I see it in the most unexpected places!).
We hear a lot of promises, and a lot about change that matters. My hope is that a huge part of whatever change takes place doesn’t deal with the symptoms of economy, etc. - but with what really matters: the real need of character development, moral foundation building, and genuine faith strengthening.